Barramundi has a number of impressive health benefits including its ability to lose weight, prevent certain cancers, balance your cholesterol levels, prevent diabetes, ensure growth and repair, increase eye health, and strengthen bones.
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For those exotic fish lovers out there, barramundi may be a name you recognize, but since barramundi fish aren’t nearly as popular as salmon and other large-volume fish, they may be a new species to you! Also known as the Asian seabass, barramundi have become very popular in recent years because of the overfishing issues that have struck other popular fish, such as salmon and trout. As more research was done on these fish, the interest has grown even more, because the nutrient and organic compound concentrations in barramundi are ideal for human health. Found in Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea, and parts of Northern Australian waters, barramundi are large with white, flaky flesh with a moderate flavor.
This species of fish, with the scientific name Lates calcarifer, has become a popular choice for fish farming as well, due to the difficulties in catching large quantities of the fish in traditional nets and hooks. The fish is widely used in culinary preparations throughout Asia, and is quite versatile and can easily replace any other type of bass or snapper in recipes. For overfished populations, barramundi may represent a means of letting other fish populations naturally replenish. Aside from its use in sustainable fish farming, there are also a wealth of nutrients and minerals in barramundi that are very valuable for human health. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of barramundi.
Health Benefits of Barramundi
Whenever anything is able to claim that it can prevent certain types of cancers, people tend to perk up and pay attention. When it comes to barramundi, there is a very high level of omega-3 fatty acids, which are often considered the “good” type of fat, as the body needs a certain amount of HDL cholesterol for normal functioning. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been directly linked to lower risk of cancer, making barramundi a very valuable “catch” indeed.
Promotes Weight Loss
Compared to other popular fish, such as salmon, barramundi has nearly half the fat, while still providing an ample amount of nutrients, minerals and protein. This is important for those looking to lose weight or shift their diet away from red meats, without suffering the loss of essential nutrients that comes with it.
Protects Heart Health
As mentioned above, barramundi has an impressive effect on fatty acid levels in the body. In fact, there is a ” perfect” balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and the natural levels found within barramundi are shockingly close to the desired levels in the human body. Most people consume 5-10 times more omega-6 than omega-3, but barramundi is basically a 1:1 ratio. In other words, barramundi helps to balance cholesterol, thus preventing atherosclerosis and other complications, such as obesity and coronary heart disease, while also reducing strain on the heart and arteries.
Protein is often thought of as the building block of life (along with amino acids), making protein an essential part of every diet. Red meat and fish are natural sources of protein to turn to, but barramundi has a surprisingly high level of protein per serving. Plant proteins, as well as those from sources other than red meat, have recently been linked, particularly in men, to lower occurrence levels of diabetes. This is important, given that diabetes remains a global “pandemic” of sorts without any known cure, merely treatment and preventative strategies.
Like many fish species, barramundi have impressive levels of selenium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and other essential minerals that the body needs to produce and protect bones. Bone mineral density is a major issue as we age, so ensuring that we get high levels of these minerals, particularly the trace elements (like selenium), is necessary for long-term health and strength.
Increases Eye Health
We don’t often think of vitamins coming from fish, but barramuni does provide a high level of vitamin A, which is an antioxidant specifically linked to eye health and vision. Vitamin A is able to counteract the negative effects of free radicals that can cause macular degeneration and cataracts, thus improving your vision and protecting it into the future.
Ensures Proper Growth
Aside from protein protecting against certain chronic diseases, protein is also necessary for our growth and development. Proteins from poultry and seafood are considered “healthier” than those in red meat, but help contribute to our growth and repair of tissues, muscles, and bone just as much as proteins found in other sources.
Final Word of Warning: Unlike many other overfished populations, or those from certain regions contaminated with mercury and other undesirable trace metals, these fish have shown a remarkable resistance to these contaminants, making this fish even healthier than many fish (like salmon) that we eat on a regular basis. More research is being done on barramundi, but no immediate concerns have surfaced about the safety of this delectable fish!